Pentagon's special ops directorate selects EnforceAir C-UAS platforms

by Carlo Munoz

The US Department of Defense’s (DoD's) special operations and low intensity conflict (SO/LIC) directorate has selected Israel-based D-Fend Solutions as the sole provider for radio frequency capabilities for counter-drone operations.

D-Fend Solutions’ EnforceAir was selected in January for follow-on integration and operational assessment into small-unit, tactical counter unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) missions by SO/LIC officials, members of the Pentagon’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), and the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU).

D-Fend Solutions’ selection “puts us in a very good place” to compete for other Pentagon C-UAS initiatives, company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Zohar Halachmi told Janes in early February.

The EnforceAir platform is designed as an autonomous detection and mitigation system that locates and identifies adversarial UAS systems operating in controlled or restricted airspace, a company fact sheet stated. The system then engages and takes over the aircraft’s command-and-control systems, forcing the UAS to land in a predetermined area, it added.

The system utilises an application consisting of “non-jamming and non-kinetic technologies” to overtake and forcefully land an adversary UAS, the fact sheet stated. The takedown application in EnforceAir “does not require line of sight, making it ideal for all complex environments, whether urban or rural,” it added.

The technologies demonstrated in the EnforceAir programme will likely play a large part in the layered defence approach Pentagon strategists are aiming for in a higher-level C-UAS strategy, Halachmi said.

“You will not only have one [C-UAS] system that feeds out” to support all units at every level across the US armed forces, Halachmi said. The EnforceAir will likely be one of “several platforms that create a system of systems” across all domains for C-UAS operations, he added. Under this scenario, the D-Fend Solutions’ offering would be one of several air-based C-UAS solutions for combat commanders, Halachmi said.

He declined to comment on the specific attributes that underpin EnforceAir’s UAS takedown capability, except to note that the platform’s dependence on non-jamming and non-kinetic technologies allows the programme to be used for C-UAS operations for both military and civilian installations.

Along with US special operations and conventional forces, the system will also be used to support elements of the US Customs and Borders Patrol, company officials said.

The US Department of Defense plans to redouble efforts in countering UAS threats, with Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord putting the mission near the top of US national security priorities for 2020.

Pentagon officials named the US Army as the executive agent for C-UAS for the entire department and are also leveraging so-called “senior warfighter integration groups” at the various combatant commands to receive battlefield feedback on the efficacy of current C-UAS systems and possible future requirements, Lord told reporters last December.

“We must balance requirements to maintain our current platforms for the immediate threat, develop new technologies to ensure we can dominate in a future fight, and change the way we do business so we can access the power of the commercial sector. Counter-UAS is an excellent example of that balance,” she said at the time.

Image credit: US Department of Defense

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The US Department of Defense’s (DoD's) special operations and low intensity conflict (SO/LIC) direct...

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